Twenty strangers gathered around a long, reclaimed wooden table overlooking the nightline in Los Angeles. Because the Wind is Daniel Benhaim’s private dining experience that spans seven to nine courses in the comfort of his beautiful, spacious loft.
“I created Because the Wind as a way to cook the food that I love in an atmosphere free from pretense or standardization. It is both a social function and experiment to create an environment where strangers meet one another amidst a curated setting of music, art, and food.”
When we arrived, Daniel was in the kitchen preparing dinner for the night. He rinsed off his hands and invited us to join other guests on the rooftop. This is not your standard night out- Daniel has mastered the casual, yet fine dining experience.
Daniel has cooked for eight years, but only moved to LA last year. When he studied anthropology in college, his food fascination grew as he learned about different cultures throughout the world. This exploration of unknown ingredients and traditions pushed Daniel into the culinary world. He began as most chefs do, as a line cook, absorbing as much information as he could.
Back when Daniel lived in North Carolina, he learned about local foraging and mushroom hunting. “I learned this to be a way of life rather than an ideal being stripped from new-Nordic trend mongering.” Later relocating to New York City, Daniel acquired a job at Pure Food and Wine, one of the first upscale organic raw vegan restaurants.
“At Pure Food and Wine, I learned techniques in creating beautiful unprocessed food utilizing some of the finest sourced ingredients I could have ever imagined.”
In 2012, Daniel moved to Japan as a consulting chef for Pure Food and Wine at a luxury hotel and also for guidance in the construction of an organic farm on the Island of Miyakojima. These collected experiences of travel and cooking have led Daniel to where he is today, pursuing his own dream. Daniel believes he has always been drawn to the intersection of sustainability and progression. And so he created Because the Wind.
Because the Wind flows as naturally as its name. Daniel plans dinners when he feels inspired by new creations. He’s always testing dishes and using his loft as a laboratory for creativity. When asked what people can expect from these dinners, Daniel explained, “To not expect. I want them to come surprised, to leave all notions of predictability at home.”
Every dish Daniel served was unlike anything we’ve ever tasted before and each of his menus has a variance to it. Our evening started with a dish of scallops, rainier cherry, olive oil, malvar vinegar, wild mustard flower, and purple potato. The fava gnocchi was another favorite made with popcorn veloute, pickled beet, Dungeness crab, and chive blossom. The marriage of these uncommon ingredients was absolutely perfect. The most interesting dish was the seaweed risotto with preserved lemon, maitake and furikake mushrooms.
Dessert is always our favorite course- this time it was a close call but still, dessert took the win– burnt marshmallow skin, roasted ice cream banana, dark chocolate and cinnamon bun. Daniel’s creativity and presentation of his dishes stunned everyone.
By the end of the night, the group of strangers chatted their way to friendships, new memories, and hugged one another goodbye. Because the Wind curated an unforgettable night.